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Gerson, S. (1996). Is Self-Disclosure a Personal Proclivity or a Principle of Technique?: Reply to Commentary. Psychoanal. Dial., 6(5):671-674.

(1996). Psychoanalytic Dialogues, 6(5):671-674

Is Self-Disclosure a Personal Proclivity or a Principle of Technique?: Reply to Commentary Related Papers

Samuel Gerson, Ph.D.

At the conclusion of his discussion Cooper suggests that the comparison between one-person and two-person models of psychoanalysis, while once a fertile genre, has now evolved into a dated and obfuscating dichotomy. In its stead, Dr. Cooper asks us to live within the dialectical tensions created in the interaction between intrapsychically induced repetitions and the developmental possibilities of relations with a new object. At first glance this seems wise, yet I am left with a certain disquietude, as if I am being asked to drop the debate in favor of an ecumenical embrace—an embrace that cloaks differences in favor of harmony and, most troubling of all, threatens to obscure and subjugate the radical implications of an intersubjective psychoanalysis.

Perhaps Cooper is attempting to do just what he described James Joyce as having found impossible—to be on both sides of an issue at the same time. And although I respect Cooper's informed attempts at dialectical and synthetic thought, I also suspect that by “being on both sides,” Cooper is able to indirectly buttress the one-person perspective. On rereading Cooper's discussion, I was left with the sense that the work as a whole is an exemplar of modern discursive strategies within the field of psychoanalysis that have emerged to encapsulate or otherwise render harmless challenges posed by the nontraditional. One of these strategies is to position oneself as above the fray by suggesting that the dichotomy between the perspectives is either false on a content level, or, if not, that continued debate is no longer relevant because the older paradigm has already accounted for the phenomena of concern.

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